China, Qatar announce strategic partnership

Updated: 2014-11-04 10:38


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BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, on Monday. They decided to build a strategic partnership between the two countries and promote bilateral practical cooperation to a higher level.

"Qatar is an important country that plays a unique role in the Middle East and Gulf region, and a major partner of China in the region," Xi said during the talks.

Xi said it was a milestone for the two sides to upgrade their bilateral ties to a strategic relationship during Tamim's visit.

"We need to plan our comprehensive cooperation from a strategic perspective," said the Chinese president.

According to a joint statement on establishing the partnership, the two sides pledged to increase communication between the leaders of the two countries, support each other on issues involving national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, boost cooperation in trade, investment, energy, finance, fighting terrorism, the military industry and other sectors as well as step up people-to-people exchanges.

They also agreed to make joint efforts to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

"President Xi Jinping's proposal on the Belt and the Road will provide important opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in energy, infrastructure and other sectors," said the emir, adding that he welcomes Chinese investment in large-scale projects in Qatar and his country will increase exports of natural gas to China.

In the statement, the two countries also pledged to work together with relevant parties to ensure that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is set up and goes into operation at an early date.

Last month, China, Qatar and 19 other countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on establishing an intergovernmental regional development institution in Asia with Beijing as host city for its headquarters.

During Monday's talks, Xi stressed that China supports Qatar's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as its efforts to safeguard national security and stability.

As Qatar prepares to take the rotating chair of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Xi urged the country to help speed up free trade agreement negotiations between China and the six-member bloc. The GCC, set up in 1981, is a regional political and economic alliance that includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Regarding the situation in the Middle East, Xi said a political solution is the only realistic way to solve disputes in the region.

"No matter how difficult it is, we should keep maximum patience to provide maximum room for a political solution," said the Chinese leader.

Xi said it is the countries and people in the region that have the biggest say on what development path they should follow and that the international community should support their efforts in seeking the right path in accordance with their own national conditions.

Voicing his appreciation for China's impartial stand on international affairs, Tamim said Qatar will make joint efforts with China to safeguard regional security and stability.

Tamim also invited Xi to make a state visit to Qatar at an early date.

After their talks, Xi and Tamim witnessed the signing of a string of deals.

Prior to the talks, Xi held a red-carpet ceremony for the emir.

Tamim arrived in China on Sunday for a three-day state visit at Xi's invitation. Earlier on Monday, the emir issued a press statement in which he said he believes the visit will contribute to expanding the scope of cooperation between Qatar and China for the good and benefit of the two peoples.